Berg is the Word: Belichick proves his supremacy once again

first_imgThe 21st century New England Patriots, the greatest football dynasty of all time, have always been personified by two people — quarterback Tom Brady and head coach Bill Belichick. Those are the only two people who have been in place from their first Super Bowl win against the then-St. Louis Rams in 2002 straight through to Sunday’s 13-3 victory over the Los Angeles Rams that gave the franchise its sixth championship. Third, Belichick completely out-coached the young and brilliant Sean McVay. McVay’s creative offensive concepts created so much production this year that every NFL team with a job opening started hiring coaches with even a small connection to the Rams coach. Belichick, twice McVay’s age at 66, gave the youngster an education in big-game coaching, thoroughly dominating the matchup to the point that even McVay had to admit so afterward. And yet the sustainability of the Patriots’ dynasty came into serious question in the last calendar year. After losing 41-33 to the Eagles in last year’s Super Bowl, the Patriots said goodbye to many players crucial to recent championships, such as receiver Danny Amendola and left tackle Nate Solder. The Patriots struggled (by their standards) to an 11-5 record this season, losing by double digits to three non-playoff teams. Fans and media alike began to have real doubts about the old infrastructure. The Super Bowl was the jewel of Belichick’s already sterling collection of big game performances. The Rams, the league’s second-ranked scoring offense, were completely flustered all game, getting shut out in the first half and managing just a measly third quarter field goal. Quarterback Jared Goff completed just 19 of 38 passes for 229 yards and a backbreaking fourth-quarter interception when the Rams were driving to tie the game. Rams star running back Todd Gurley carried just 10 times for 35 yards and was a non-factor in the passing game. The Patriots are the Patriots because of Brady and Belichick. Each has been called the greatest of all time at his position because of the incredible accomplishments they’ve achieved together: six Super Bowl wins, 13 AFC title game appearances (including eight straight through this season) and 16 division wins in the last 18 years. Their track record is unassailable. Second, Belichick developed a strategy that simultaneously subverted expectations and used strengths the Patriots have displayed throughout the postseason. After playing more man-to-man coverage than any team during the regular season, Belichick identified Goff’s inability to make complex reads as a weakness to exploit, coming out in zone coverage and maintaining it for most of the game. At the same time, he continued to call for complex stunts and twists to confuse the Rams offensive line, scheming his defensive linemen and linebackers into free runs at Goff to the tune of four sacks and 12 quarterback hits. But if this stretch had caused anyone to revoke Belichick’s status as the greatest coach ever, he reclaimed it with a vengeance in the playoffs. Belichick is best known as a defensive mastermind, and nowhere was that more apparent than on the NFL’s biggest stage. Against the sixth- and first-ranked scoring offenses in the Chargers and Chiefs, respectively, the Patriots allowed a combined 7 first-half points, allowing New England to build large enough leads to ultimately win each game. Somehow, the Patriots shut out a historically good Chiefs offense in the first half on the road, holding quarterback and league MVP Patrick Mahomes to just 65 yards on four completions. Some of the credit has to go to linebackers coach and defensive playcaller Brian Flores, who will become the head coach of the Dolphins, but the preparation and schemes were classic Belichick. The questions persisted after New England allowed over 30 points to three of the bottom six scoring offenses in the league with losses to Jacksonville, Tenn. and Miami this season. Derision crested with Belichick’s questionable decision to put a noticeably slowed Rob Gronkowski in to defend Miami’s desperate bid for a final touchdown from 69 yards out. Miami was never going to throw the ball far enough for Gronkowski’s height to be a major factor and the lumbering tight end slipping and failing to catch Kenyan Drake on the walk-off, game-winning touchdown was the key image of what appeared to be the end of an era. Careful observers saw cracks in Belichick’s decision-making, starting with the strange choice to bench former cornerback and Super Bowl hero Malcolm Butler against the Eagles. Despite three touchdowns and 505 passing yards from Brady (a Super Bowl record), the Patriots lost because they allowed more than 40 points — only the sixth time that happened under Belichick’s leadership. Three things made Belichick’s performance so impressive: First, there aren’t many stars on the Patriot defense. Cornerback Stephon Gilmore, who snagged the crucial interception, was the only Patriot defender to make the All-Pro or Pro Bowl rosters this season. Yet New England filled every gap and defended every pass because Belichick instilled in them the discipline to follow the game plan. Aidan Berg is a sophomore writing about sports. He is also the sports editor of the Daily Trojan. His column, “Berg is the Word,” runs every other Tuesday. Belichick has never been the type to publicly address the storylines that motivate him and his team, but he definitely hears the noise. He seeks out bulletin board material, like when he pointedly described the Eagles’ pre-planned victory parade to his players before the teams played in the 2005 Super Bowl. Belichick didn’t need the motivation of proving doubters wrong to put on a virtuoso coaching performance in the biggest game, but he certainly addressed the whispers that he had lost his fastball in reaffirming his place as the greatest football coach ever.last_img read more

B&H Cadets Better than Greek Cadets

first_imgMen cadet handball representation of B&H (U18) in the first of two friendly matches in Verija won against hosting team of Greece with a result 25:22. The second match will be played today, at 14:00.B&H cadets on 4th and 5th January will play another two control matches with cadets of Austria, within the preparation for performance at the qualifications for European championship 2014 in Poland.The qualifications tournament will be played from 10-12 January in the Danish Skarbek and besides Danish and B&H selection, in the third group will play teams of France and Bulgaria.B&H cadets will play against Bulgaria on 10 January, on 11 January against France and on 12 January against Denmark.The best two teams will compete for direct participation at the European Championship 2014.(Source: Fena)last_img read more

Miami’s short bench comes up big in win over Pacers

first_imgMeralco ‘never the same’ after Almazan injury in PBA Finals Jiro Manio arrested for stabbing man in Marikina Goran Dragic scored 20 points and backup Wayne Ellington made the decisive 3-pointer with 25.5 seconds left Wednesday night to help the Heat fend off a late charge to hold on for a rare 114-106 victory at Indiana.“None of these wins are going to come easy, but I think it just says a lot about how tough we are,” Josh Richardson said after scoring 14 points and shooting 3 of 4 from 3-point range. “Every night, we have to scratch and claw for everything and it’s paying off.”FEATURED STORIESSPORTSTim Cone, Ginebra set their sights on elusive All-Filipino crownSPORTSGinebra beats Meralco again to capture PBA Governors’ Cup titleSPORTSAfter winning title, time for LA Tenorio to give back to Batangas folkThis game might have been their most impressive yet.With four players sitting out because of injuries, Tyler Johnson not expected to dress and James Johnson suspended by the league for throwing punches in a victory over Toronto, the Heat showed up at Bankers Life Fieldhouse expecting only seven players to be available for their second road game in two nights. It was good enough to fend off the hard-charging Pacers, who had won their previous two games.Victor Oladipo had 26 points, seven rebounds and four assists and Lance Stephenson gave Indiana a late boost of energy that nearly led Indiana back from a 10-point deficit in the final 9:57. Stephenson wound up with 15 points, eight rebounds and four assists.Miami showed no sign of fatigue early, shooting better than 60 percent for most of the first two quarters and took a 58-47 lead at halftime.And when Indiana used a 14-2 run to get within 65-63, the Heat fought through the weariness again.Indiana blew its first chance to tie the score, or take the lead, when Al Jefferson drew an offensive foul late in the third. The Heat then retook an 84-78 lead after three and extended the margin to 90-80 early in the fourth on a basket by Adebayo.That’s when the Pacers turned it on. They scored six straight to make it 92-89 and used another 6-0 spurt to finally tie it at 97 on Stephenson’s 18-footer with 5:09 left.But Miami broke the tie on Johnson’s 3 and put it away when Ellington’s shot dropped in for to make it 109-103.“They hit some tough shots,” Oladipo said. “They’ve been hitting tough shots every win, the last three or four wins, down to wire and they executed again. Credit them, they did a great job.”TIP-INSHeat: Dragic also finished with nine assists. … Miami has won 13 consecutive games in January including last season, the longest active streak in the league. … The home team had won 18 of the previous 20 regular-season games in this series. Miami Heat guard Goran Dragic (7) drives around Indiana Pacers center Domantas Sabonis, right, and guard Cory Joseph (6) during the first half of an NBA basketball game in Indianapolis, Wednesday, Jan. 10, 2018. (AP Photo/Michael Conroy)INDIANAPOLIS — Miami found out an eight-man rotation might be just as effective as a full bench.Sometimes, it can even be better.ADVERTISEMENT Sports Related Videospowered by AdSparcRead Next OSG plea to revoke ABS-CBN franchise ’a duplicitous move’ – Lacson Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. Brian Heruela arrival bolsters Phoenix backcourt, defense Redemption is sweet for Ginebra, Scottie Thompson View comments LATEST STORIES Tyler Johnson, it turns out, managed to play through a sprained left shoulder giving coach Erik Spoelstra one more body to divvy up the minutes.And he needed every one.Ellington, Johnson and Bam Adebayo all played more than 30 minutes, all scored 15 points off the bench and all made key plays throughout the game as Miami won its sixth in a row and snapped a 10-game road losing streak against the Pacers.Hassan Whiteside added 16 points and 15 rebounds.“We knew it was going to be tough here. (Indiana) plays extremely well at home,” Spoelstra said. “They’re athletic. They have great team speed. It wasn’t a perfect game by any means, but it was probably a little bit more to our pace and our liking.”ADVERTISEMENT OSG plea to revoke ABS-CBN franchise ’a duplicitous move’ – Lacson Carpio hits red carpet treatment for China Coast Guard PLAY LIST 02:14Carpio hits red carpet treatment for China Coast Guard02:56NCRPO pledges to donate P3.5 million to victims of Taal eruption00:56Heavy rain brings some relief in Australia02:37Calm moments allow Taal folks some respite03:23Negosyo sa Tagaytay City, bagsak sa pag-aalboroto ng Bulkang Taal01:13Christian Standhardinger wins PBA Best Player award Pacers: Missed their first 10 3s and wound up 1 of 18 from beyond the arc. Indiana also went 19 of 29 from the free-throw line. … Thaddeus Young had 12 points and nine rebounds. … Domantas Sabonis had 18 points and seven rebounds after replacing Myles Turner in the starting lineup.TURNER OUTTurner injured his right elbow Monday night after making a dunk in the victory over Milwaukee.The team announced he wouldn’t play Wednesday morning and said he would miss at least one more game as he continues to be evaluated. He showed up in street clothes and wore a protective brace over his sport coat on the bench. Turner was averaging 2.24 blocks per game, second in the league.“We’ll get more information after Friday’s game,” coach Nate McMillan said.UP NEXTHeat: Return home to face Milwaukee on Sunday.Pacers: Are seeking their third straight win against Cleveland this season when the Cavaliers come to town Friday. San Beda trips Perpetual in grueling three-setter Lights inside SMX hall flicker as Duterte rants vs Ayala, Pangilinan anew Steam emission over Taal’s main crater ‘steady’ for past 24 hours MOST READ Scottie Thompson also worthy of Finals MVP, thinks Conelast_img read more

Ellen Submits US$18.2M Loans for Agriculture, Rural Finance

first_imgPresident Ellen Johnson Sirleaf has requested the House of Representatives to ratify two financial agreements, totaling US$18.2 million.The Loans, described as ‘Tree Crops Extension Project and the Rural Community Finance Project’ were signed between the Government of Liberia and the International Fund for Agriculture Development (IFAD). “The target population will be 11,000 stakeholders of the cocoa value chain, of which 8,000 are smallholder cocoa farmers, who are members of Kuu Groups and Farmers Field Schools (FFS); approximately 2,400 additional farmers who will also benefit from supplies and market linkages and 600 others that benefit as a result of job creation,” President Sirleaf said.“The project is also geared at enhancing access to sustainable and affordable rural financial services in Liberia, and shall benefit the economically active rural population (petty traders, smallholder farmers, food processors, local transportation, craftsmen and artisans as well as ex-combatants) who demonstrate an interest and willingness to expand their economic activities.” Meanwhile, both loans shall be free of interest but a service charge of three fourths of one percent (0.75) per annum payable semi-annually and shall have a maturity period of forty (40) years, including a grace period of ten (10) years starting from the date of approval of the Loan by the Fund’s Executive Board. The Projects will be implemented by the Ministry of Agriculture.The two financing agreements have been forwarded to the Committees on Agriculture and Ways, Means and Finance and Judiciary for scrutiny, and to report to the House’s Plenary in one week.In the meantime, the House has unanimously concurred with the Senate on two bills: Acts Adopting the Securities Market and the Central Securities Depository.The bills are intended to ensuring adequate measures to prevent fraud or any other system of manipulation, and to enhance public awareness of the securities market and promote fair, orderly and transparent markets.Furthermore, the President also submitted several bills for amendment. They included an Act to Amend the Criminal Procedure Law, Title 2 of the Liberian Code of Laws (revised) to provide for special criminal procedures for offenses involving terrorist acts.Others are an Act to Repeal the Act to Establish Procedures for the Distribution of the United Nations List of Terrorists and Terrorist Groups; an Act to Establish Administrative Procedures for Targeted Sanctions Against the Designated Terrorist Groups and Terrorist Organizations; and an Act to Amend the New Panel Law, Title 26 of the Liberian Code of Laws (revised, chapter 14) offenses involving danger to the person, sub-chapter C, kidnapping and related offenses by repealing section 14.33, terrorism; chapter 15, offenses against property, sub-chapter C, robbery, section 15.33, hijacking; and chapter 5 offenses against property, sub-chapter G, proceeds of crime, money laundering and terrorist financing, section 15.4 terrorist financing and replacing it with a new section 14.54, entitled offenses involving terrorist acts. The bills were submitted to the Committees on Security and Judiciary for scrutiny and to report to Plenary in one week.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)last_img read more